October 17, 2011
so october 8th the Dragon ran the 25hour 25min25sec race at Nelson Ledges Race track. Friday during practice we had to address some issues w/ the front shocks. Seems that one strut housing is different than the other and requires a shim- which we didnt have in there. After some customizing with some metal we managed to get it all fixed as well as tightening the front wheel bearings alittle.
That night there was a practice in the dark to test the lights and we signed up to get everyone up to speed on driving in the night. The last trip out apparently was too much for our headgasket which is surprising since we had no issues w/ heat up till this point. Three hours later and a head gasket kit we were back in business. Saturday morning the car was sitting on the grid and i was in the seat for the first two hours. Our new tires were struggling to keep traction but i still managed to keep up pretty good running ave. 1:25 lap times and finishing my stint in 5th place. Two hours later we were still in 7th and Ben climbed out to allow Sam a seat. Only 20minutes or so in the right front ball joint pin sheared off leaving the wheel on its own w/ no or little steering. Sam managed to get the car back to the paddock where we immediatly went to work on the ailing dragon. Travis from rennbay donated a lower control arm and while the car was up we noticed the radiator now had a hole in it as well. The team went to work putting the radiator in and bleeding it as i put the control arm in. I decided to decrease some camber on the front end and found the drivers spindle LOOSE! This was causing strange wear on the ds front tire and ill handling. Needless to say this was a problem. One hour later we were back on the track- this time in 40th position. We worked our way through drivers, Rob, then Alan, then back to me. At the safety break just before dark we swapped in another alternator since we were not charging well. The car ran very well and we managed to eeek up to 17th place before we suffered another breakdown. It seems that the alternator belt shredded itself and had wrapped itself around the ps brake line. Besides not charging, the car also had constant pressure on the right front brake and took a pair of new hawk track pads down to less than an 1/8th inch, and carving most of the rotor away on both sides. I had a spare rotor and gave it to the team but no spare belt. We set out towards the barn were supposedly there was a parts car. We soon had an old belt from the parts car and the car was up and running again w/ one good pad on each side. After all this we had dropped back again significantly but we were marching onward. Handling was superb and the Dragon didnt miss a beat, ending the race at the checkered flag in 29th position out of 84 or so cars that started. Our team was awsome and a big thanks to them. Drivers included Myself, Ben Lowe, SamGrant, Rob Royse, and Alan Arkus. Pit crew included Andy Kihm and John who donated their time and efforts to keep the Dragon running and fueled for 25 hours as well as pitching into to numerous other teams as well.
THis is however the last race for our team w/ the Dragon. Myself and two other drivers are also involved in NASA racing and can only spend so much time working on race cars. The Dragon has been sold to another team in Texas where it will keep up racing w/ the Chumpcar guys. Fairwell Dragon, we had our fun. Dan
September 8, 2011
so monday a couple of the guys and I spent the holiday getting some Dragon work done. Managed to swap all four corners brake pads, new front bearings and races, new/used rear shocks, changed the trans fluid and patched the oil pan crack. I also swapped the rollers on the motor out since they had been making some noise, but at the same time ended up having to put a timing belt on due to a small rip in the old one after the rotor for the distributor had apparently blown itself up at some point. Im surprised it ran at all but i really never noticed anything. I guess a piece of the rotor worked its way onto the belt and ripped it. After a good wash and some new scales on the front fenders she is looking like her old self again. Almost time to go racing!
September 4, 2011
so the Dragon has been sitting on the trailer since VIR waiting for other things to get done before i could get back to her. Finally the car is back home and ive been making things right since we had alot of body damage at the last race. The front fenders both were pretty crushed in, and both had been dented and fixed at some time in the past so they already had some body work in there. I went to town grinding all the old filler out and pulling the damaged areas out as good as possible with a slide hammer and then doing some quick bondo work to them to get the shape back. A quick coat of green and she looks good and new…well. Now to get the team over to swap some wheel bearings, fluids and try to patch our crack we aquired in the oil pan at VIR as well.
August 3, 2011
so thursday we headed nine hours down to VIR for the 24 hour race w/ the guys at Chumpcar. Friday morning we set up camp and were able to run test laps on the south course a few hours and shake the car down. Temps were super high so the car was running at the 3/4 mark all weekend. Saturday was the start of the race and the car was running great. My first two hour stint was eventful on the south course as i missed an apex, oversteering into the side of a honda hatch and bouncing then off the quarter panel as well. Throughout the race we managed to get side swiped by a supra, hit in the rear and then bouncing of a few other cars w/ the right front fender as well. It seems that 86 cars on the track and a mix good and not so good drivers doesnt always work. The car stayed hot but ran the full 24 hours. Our battery didnt charge well during the night w/ the four large lights on the hood so it wouldnt start until we stopped running them, resulting in getting towed twice after stalling the car in off track occurrences. WE also had two of our new Dunlop Direzza star specs just come apart, one of our old hancooks get severely flat spotted and one that finished the race that is chorded half way around the tire. Time for more tires and a battery…and maybe some quick bodywork.
July 23, 2011
so the last month we’ve been hustling to get the car ready for VIR. Installed the new radiator and a straight lower support. Deleted the coolant loop bypassing the heater core, flushed the brakes, installed a lexan rear hatch, moved the taillights to the back of the car-from the rollbar- and installed a new disconnect switch on the dash instead of the whole remote mount linkage deal. The most exiting news though is the introduction of the Dragon Wagon. Ok so its just a radio flyer painted in Dragon motif but it will be used to shuttle gas cans from the pumps to the paddock during the race so i figured we needed some style.
June 20, 2011
The car has sat on the trailer until a DE at Mid Ohio in the spring. We resolved our cooling issues and the car did great all three days even w/ two drivers. The next event was 944fest 2011 where we rented the car to someone and also ran the car in the instructor group friday and saturday.
The first problem was the KYB struts on the car started coming apart. The inserts were loose and the wheel could move back and fourth. After installing some new inserts and repacking the rear axels that were clicking, i threw on the new tires we bought for VIR next month to scrub them in abit. These Dunlop Direzza’s are great but we could only find them in 205 instead of 225- and no other tires either w/ the needed 200 or greater treadwear. I put the car in the rallycross and ended up knocking the radiator out. Luckily a fest’er had another radiator and lower hose so i fixed the car at the event, only to knock it out once again during the track event. Looks like before VIR in july i’ll be doing some freshening of the dragon.
April 27, 2011
Well we made it to WI and had a blast at Road America dispite the cold rainy weather. We finished our seven hour race on saturday in 6th place, we would have been top three if our rear tire hadnt decided to let go and really set us back. After repairing our leaking radiator over night we were back out on sunday only to have shifter problems, traction problems and i guess the radiator wasnt bled out completely, making the car run hot. One of the wings decided to fall off before the end of the race also and was destroyed. I cut the other one off and i think we’ll stick w/ the new aero look. We decided to scrap the race sunday which was becoming a scary mess w/ cars crashed and off track everywhere. Our new motor did AWSOME though and used very little oil, our oil change revealed our bearings were doing well also. Included is a pic of my daughter in her Dragon costume as our newest mascot.
A couple weeks later we took the car to Mid Ohio for a DE and it pulled double duty for Alan and I tracking, taste of the track and taking my student out. Used only half a quart in three days. We may have found our motor! The next race is in July at VIR and we just need to change the fluids, get some tires and get to the track.
ALso our new disconnect proved too flimsy so we scrapped it and went with a very solid handle w/ a heim joint connection. We could tow the car by this one!
February 27, 2011
decided to make a center console/switch panel for the Dragon. I started w/ a 1×2′ piece of diamond plate aluminum and traced a pattern on, cut it out and bent it up. I wanted to eliminate the factory switches like the wiper stalk, headlight switch and high beam switch, as well as include some extra stuff. After tracing the wires out i ended up w/ a two way switch for the headlights, hi/low beam and also a two way switch for the wipers. Then i added a single switch for the fog lights and one for our hardwired transponder etc. – Then we cut out a hole in the console for our Momo horn button sincewe have a detachable wheel. After tracing the wiring out i decided that our nest of wires rolled up under the dash had to go, so snip snip and a few pounds of wiring was gone. Now to get everything installed and cleaned up.
February 14, 2011
so in almost a month the Dragon Somethin’ team will be heading out to WI to race at Road America with the gentlemen from Chumpcar series. We have already reserved an RV to use as our home base since temps will likely be low. Saturday everyone on the team got a chance to testdrive the Dragon a few laps at an undisclosed location to try out the new motor, seating position and belts. All went well and besides a couple small adjustments the car is ready. Im still working on a switch panel that will hold our emergency disconnect, headlight, foglight, wiper and auxillary switches, and our 12v accessory plugs.
February 6, 2011
well its been awhile since ive posted on the Dragon blog so i thought i would start updating. After my last post we hauled the Dragon out to Virginia to VIR and drove in the Chumpcar 24 hour race. We had a blast and came in THIRD place from 35 or so cars. After that we attended the 944fest and ran some laps at Nelson Ledges raceway but a bad injector burnt a valve and ended our weekend sooner than hoped. We signed up for the October Chumpcar race at Putnam park and 5 hours into our first 7 hour race a bad headgasket hydrolocked the motor and blew the number 2 rod through the oil pan.
We now have our third motor installed. This one is in better shape than the last and we spent alittle more time checking our work and less drinking beers. Well still alittle time drinking beer but less. We’ve also pulled the windshield to move the top bar of the rollcage forward for head clearance and we are updating our equipment like new window net, harnesses and moving the emergency shutoff per CHumpcar rules. The Dragon should be ready for some test drives this week and maybe a break-in run this weekend.